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Three studies investigated the correlates of physical activity self-definitions among undergraduate exercisers and athletes, and examined the perceived criteria for defining oneself as a weightlifter, basketball player, and exerciser. Perceptions about behavior, motivation-related variables, and social world variables showed consistent relationships with self-definition; correlations between self-definition and enjoyment varied according to activity. Although affective criteria were mentioned by a sizable number of those with and without physical activity self-definitions, participants cited far more behavioral than affective criteria. Other frequently mentioned criteria were also identified. Implications for self-inference are discussed and a preliminary model of physical activity self-definition is presented.
Deborah Kendzierski is with the Department of Psychology, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085. Michael Furr, Jr., is now with the Social/Personality Program, University of California-Riverside. Jennifer Schiavoni graduated from Villanova University.